Hopelessly Devoted: A Look At the 30th Annual Browns Backers Banquet

19 05 2010

As I nestled into my seat at the dinner table of the 30th Annual Browns Backers Banquet, I noticed a young couple setting up camp as well. They had brought their baby with them, sporting an infant sized Cribbs jersey and everything.

“Starting him off early, I see?”

“Oh yeah,” the mom responded with a quiet laugh.

“Seems a little cruel and unusual to do to a baby. Save him while you still can!” My Dad joked.

“No, no! He’s going to help change Cleveland’s luck!” Both parents countered, with a hint of a chuckle… but one could tell they were entirely serious.

And with that little baby in the Cribbs jersey, the everlasting fountain of Cleveland sports optimism continues. Read the rest of this entry »


NFL Draft – Browns Day 3 Analysis

24 04 2010

First things first, let’s take a look at the three players the Browns added today:

  • 5th Round, 160 overallLarry Asante, S, Nebraska – Another “in-the-box” safety. Like Ward, he’s said to have the hard hitting ability. He’s got good size (6’0 212 lbs) and athletic ability. Was a three year starter for the Cornhuskers, which is nice.
  • 6th Round, 177 overallCarlton Mitchell, WR, South Florida – Love this pick. He’s big (6’3″ 215 lbs), fast (4.49 40), and can catch the football. Not sure what the knock on him was. Most projections had him in the third.
  • 6th Round, 186 overallClifton Geathers, DE, South Carolina – Big (6’7″, 300) defensive end with pretty good strength that apparently has some character issues.

Now for some unprofessional commentary on Day 3 of the NFL Draft…

Quick Thoughts:

  • Hard to get too excited about anyone picked in these late rounds, but I was giddy about the selection of Carlton Mitchell. Reasons:
    • His name is Carlton. And his favorite show is “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Just kidding about that second part. But it definitely should be his favorite show.
    • As explained above, he is big and fast and can catch. What more can you need? Plus, he was compared to Brandon Marshall. Much better comparison than, say, Braylon Edwards. Must be the whole “catching” thing.
    • Apparently, when breaking down the Browns roster, the three headed monster of Holmgren/Heckert/Mangini concluded that the receiving corp lacked speed. Mitchell ran his 40 in the 4.4 range, which is speedy. And by all accounts, his strength is that of providing a vertical threat to a team. Yes, please.
    • In the twitter world, some of the former scouts/ESPN guys were tweeting about how they couldn’t believe he even fell to the 5th round and that some team would be getting a steal. I couldn’t believe Cleveland drafted a guy I was hoping they would. This never happens. Explains the giddiness.
    • Not saying he’s perfect, because I’m sure there is a reason he fell to the 6th round. Maybe he smells or something, I don’t know. But he’s got the potential to be a quality receiver for the Browns.
  • I’m not going to pretend I know anything more about Larry Asante than I read on nfl.com. But I do like that he’s a three year starter, I’ll say that.
  • As for Clifton Geathers, I’m guessing he has a terrible jump shot. Most of the time, athletic 6’7″ dudes just don’t choose football.
  • Seriously though with Geathers, apparently he was suspended for a couple of games for resisting arrest. Seemed pretty serious, and he had been red flagged by some teams for character issues. Since the three headed monster has taken over in Berea, they have put a premium on acquiring high character guys. So if they’re willing to roll the dice on this guy, they must have seen something intriguing. Oh yeah, he’s 6’7″. Duh.
  • As far as I know, there were no notable hot girlfriends among the day 3 draftees. Someone please prove me wrong. But as for hot girlfriends of day 2 draftees, Colt McCoy’s fiance, Rachel Glandorf, is the “LeBabe Of The Week.” Congratulations, Rachel.
  • Overall, I think the Browns had a pretty solid draft. They filled just about every need (CB, S, RB, QB, and WR). They failed to get help along the defensive front 7, but there is only so much you can address in one draft.
  • Of course, only time will tell how the Browns truly performed in this year’s draft. But for the time being, I’ll give GM Tom Heckert the benefit of the doubt. After all, as pointed out in this weeks “Stat Of The Week,” the Eagles either drafted or acquired 10 different pro bowl players while Heckert was the GM.

Some even more random thoughts regarding day 3:

  • I’m sick and tired of the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Ohio State players. I would love to root for them in the NFL, but I’m not physically able to cheer them on in any way, shape, or form while they have on those hideous black and gold jerseys.
  • So for Thaddeus Gibson and Doug Worthington: I’m glad you were able to get drafted and are able to continue your NFL Dreams. I just hope that you find zero success until you find another team. Well, I guess you can have individual success on occasion. Just don’t win. Ever.
  • At the very least, don’t pull a Santonio Holmes and win a Super Bowl MVP with the Steelers and be lost to me forever.
  • Onto a less depressing subject: I would like to extend a congratulations to Myron Rolle for getting drafted by the Titans in the sixth round. Albeit later than he hoped, I’m glad he is given the opportunity because…
  • Myron Rolle may only be a couple months older than me, but I want to be like him when I grow up. The guy is a Rhodes Scholar, has charity foundations, successful youth weight loss programs, and plans to open a free health services clinic in the Bahamas. I, uh… just started a blog. Crap.
  • Late-Round-Guy-I’ll-Watch-In-Preseason-For-No-Good-Reason: John Skelton. I have no real connection to the Fordham QB… at all. I just looked him up one day because I saw he’s close to 6’6″ and 250 lbs. Enjoyed his YouTube clips, and pegged him as a late round guy I wanted the Browns to keep an eye on. Plus I guess he is a “weird dude, man. WEIRD dude,” according to a buddy of mine who is a Fordham Alum.
  • He ended up going to Arizona, and now I’m very eager to see if he’ll usurp Derek Anderson at any point in the next three years. This morning, I saw he did an ESPN Sport Science segment. Impressive physical dude. Check it out:

What overall grade did you give the Browns 2010 Draft Class? Visit the “Poll Of The Week” to cast your vote!

It’s been a fun couple of days and I really appreciate all of the readers that have stopped by…

Leave some comments and hope to see you all back for more amateur and mildly comical insight on the Cavs and NBA Playoffs!

– Sam

NFL Draft – Browns Second Day Analysis

24 04 2010

So the Browns filled a couple of needs and grabbed the headlines with their second to last pick. Here are some quick thoughts…

Quick Thoughts:

  • It’s funny how big of a low –> high this day went for most Browns fans.
  • The day started with the Browns sitting pretty at #38… several big names still available when we picked: Sergio Kindle, Daryl Washington, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, etc. etc. They even had Jim Brown come out to announce the pick! This had to be a big deal right? And the Browns select… T.J. Ward? Umm… let me check my draft book.
  • Now I had heard the name before — him and Nate Allen were two names at safety that I had read about being rated ahead of Taylor Mays by most teams. But I really didn’t have that great of a clue of who he was. I knew he went to Oregon, and that might have been the biggest reason I wasn’t overly excited about the pick. Not that I have anything against Oregon or anything, they seem to have a great program, very loud jerseys, running backs that throw mean left hooks, and a QB that’s just OK at stealing laptops.
  • Seriously though, I have nothing against Oregon. The only reason that fact didn’t bode well with me is that I went to the Ohio State-Oregon Rose Bowl game this past January — and I remember just about everything from that night. I just don’t remember an Oregon safety making any impact plays. Not a good sign.
  • Also not a good sign: history of knee injuries and sitting out 6 games last year due to a bum ankle. Although I think he deserves major props for battling through his one major knee injury. The dude tore his patella tendon! That’s what knocked former Browns Gary Baxter and LeCharles Bentley into retirement. This guy not only recovered from it, he returned to form and played some damn good football in the Pac-10 for three seasons. That’s pretty tough.
  • So as I grew increasingly frustrated about the fact the Browns drafted someone I had to look up while I watch the Baltimore Ravens select collegiate studs Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope with the Browns trading back up into the 2nd round. Everyone I watched the draft with stood up from their chairs in excitement because it had to be a big name right?! And the Browns select Montario Hardesty? … Where’d I put that draft book again?
  • I will say this about Hardesty: he had a pretty impressive 15 second highlight reel on ESPN’s draft coverage – for whatever that’s worth. Seems big, powerful, shifty enough to shed some tacklers. Rushed for over 1,300 yards last year, so I’m sure the guy is no slouch. But again, a history with knee injuries? I started getting the sense that Holmgren and Heckert were getting cocky by ignoring the horrible luck we’ve had with injuries.
  • But then again, Courtney Brown didn’t miss a game when he was at Penn State, so maybe Holmgren and Heckert felt these guys already had their turn of bad luck. Sort of like the reasoning behind not getting struck by lightning twice. Yeah. That’s the way I’ll spin it.
  • Before moving on, I’ve got one more gripe to rant aimlessly about: I’m sick and tired of the new Browns regimes getting tooled on draft day by the organizations they came from. Allow me to elaborate:
    • Phil Savage came from the Ravens. In 2006, the Browns had the 12th overall pick while the Baltimore Ravens held the 13th selection. We needed help along the defensive line badly. My dream guy was Haloti Ngata – but him falling to the Browns seemed to be nothing more than an ill conceived dream of mine. Yet lo and behold, he falls right into our laps. I do a little jig around my dorm room, excited to grab this stud. Then to my utter dismay, I see that beautiful orange helmet at the bottom of the screen switch to a ravens logo. The Ravens took Ngata and he looks like he’s well on his way to becoming a perennial pro-bowl player. We took Wimbley, and he is now an Oakland Raider. What did we get for this little swap? A 6th round pick — which turned out to be DT Babatunde Oshinowo, who I’m sure is at some sort of Ponderosa Steakhouse as I type this. We got tooled.
    • Eric Mangini came from the Jets. In the 2009 Draft, we held a coveted 5th overall selection. The NY Jets had the 17th overall pick. The Browns struck a deal to move down for  something like a third along with Brett Rhatliff, Kenyon Coleman and Abe Elam. Now, I was all for the idea of trading down – but you’re telling me we couldn’t do better than the NY Jets pu pu platter they offered? Tooled.
    • Tom Heckert came from the Eagles. In order to move up 12 spots into the end of the second round, the Browns give the Eagles their highest third, along with two of their fifth round picks. Now I know it followed the draft value chart fairly well, but just earlier in this draft the 49ers moved up two spots in the first round and only gave up one 4th. And does anyone else thing Hardesty would have been gone within those twelve picks? I don’t know, it just seemed like Andy Reid got the better of Heckert in that situation. Savage was the worst example, but its still a former team getting the upper hand on a new Browns regime.
  • Back to the draft. After the Browns made their trade to get back into the second, I thought for sure it was for Colt McCoy. They didn’t. This is when I came to accept that the Browns just weren’t taking America’s hero today. And I wouldn’t get to see his girlfriend on a regular basis — truly the most disheartening subplot when you get down to it.
  • So when draft rolled around to the 85th overall pick, I really expected to hear Roger Goodell to read some other name that would make me bust out my draft book. What’s that? Is that Mack Brown? No way. Way! Browns take Colt McCoy – and the heavy favorite in the lebrontourage poll finally lands on the Browns!
  • My take on Colt:
    • He’s a leader. In the “SportsCenter Special: John Gruden’s QB Camp”, Gruden asks him what he’s going to do when he takes over a huddle with veteran lineman who don’t care what some rookie has to say. McCoy’s responds in a dead serious tone: “Same thing I did when I was a freshman at Texas with five senior offensive linemen… Earn their respect.” Gave me chills.
    • He’s a winner. In fact, the winningest QB in college football history.
    • He’s accurate. In fact, the second most accurate QB in college football history – completing just over 70% of his passes over his 4 year career. In his junior year, he completed 77%! That’s absurd. I can’t even do that on Madden.
    • He’s accurate. I know I already said this. Don’t care. I’ve seen Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn misfire on far too many easy slant routs to not mention this twice.
    • He’s got a smoking hot girlfriend.

    Colt McCoy's girlfriend. Can't wait to see her at Browns games.

  • If you’re not completely sold on the Colt McCoy pick, I get it. But the bottom line is that we didn’t “reach” for him. He was the 85th overall pick, so there is no real pressure here. I mean hell, when the Browns drafted Charlie Frye, he was the 67th overall pick! This has got to be an upgrade over that, right?
  • With the last pick on the day, the Browns try to upgrade the offensive line by selecting Shawn Lauvao, an offensive tackle from Arizona State that projects to play guard in the NFL. Apparently he’s gotten poor reviews among the draft websites out there, but the guy was second team All Pac-10 so he can’t be a scrub.
  • An interesting note about this guy is that he is Hawaiian. Hopefully he fares better than former Hawaiian Browns draft picks in David Veikune and Melila Purcell.

So what grade do you give the Browns day 2?

2010 NFL Mock Draft

22 04 2010

Greetings all! Here is our 2010 NFL Mock Draft. I’m sure that at around 8 p.m. Thursday, these will be considered completely broken and useless. Nevertheless, Dave and I will enter our mocks into a Yahoo! or ESPN competition. Winner gets bragging rights and a beer. Feel free to take us on.

1) St. Louis Rams

Dave’s pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

– The Rams need a QB about as bad as the Browns do and Bradford is the only ‘franchise’ signal caller in the draft.

Sam’s pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

No surprise here. Ndamukong Suh is the best player in this draft, but for better or worse, the golden rule remains: “If you don’t have a franchise QB, you don’t pass on one.” If you look at the Rams’ roster today, you’ll find three names: Null, Feeley, and Reilly. I promise you those are in fact quarterbacks, and the only three currently set to play for St. Louis. After passing on Mark Sanchez last year and Matt Ryan the year before, I don’t think they can do it again.

2) Detroit Lions

Dave’s pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

– With the addition of Vanden Bosch, taking Suh here would give the Lions a defensive line to think twice about.

Sam’s pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

This should be a no-brainer pick. I think he is the most elite talent to come out in recent memory. I’ve heard scouts say Gerald McCoy is right up there with him. Bologna. I’m not drinking that Kool-Aid. I know McCoy is a stud in his own right, but this season I watched multiple Cornhuskers games for one reason: to check out that defensive tackle. What? That just doesn’t happen. But this guy is a human wrecking ball. No, like literally. He hits like a human wrecking ball.

He recently participated in a “Sport Science” segment for ESPN. He hit a tackling dummy harder than any other participant they’ve ever had. They compared his force to that of a freight train. Who else has participated in this tackling exercise? Oh, only pro bowl defensive tackles like Kris Jenkins, and future hall of famers like Ray Lewis. No big.

Now should the Lions take him? Absolutely. Will they? Probably. But who knows? It’s too early for a wide receiver joke, but this is still Detroit.

Read the rest of this entry »

NFL – 2010 Cleveland Browns Schedule

21 04 2010

Here’s a look at the 2010 NFL Schedule for the Browns:

Date – CAPS for home; @ for away

9/12 – @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
9/19 –  KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
9/26 – @ Baltimore Ravens (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/3 – CINCINNATI BENGALS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/10 –  ATLANTA FALCONS (FOX 1:00 p.m.)
10/17 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers  (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/24 – @ New Orleans Saints (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
10/31 – BYE WEEK
11/7 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
11/14 – NEW YORK JETS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
11/21 – @ Jacksonville Jaguars (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
11/28 – CAROLINA PANTHERS (FOX 1:00 p.m.)
12/5 – @ Miami Dolphins (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/12 – @ Buffalo Bills (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/19 – @ Cincinnati Bengals (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/26 – BALTIMORE RAVENS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)
12/2 – PITTSBURGH STEELERS (CBS 1:00 p.m.)

Quick Thoughts:

  • For over a decade now, the schedule makers had been trying to do the Browns a favor by starting them off at home. Let me speak for the Browns fans when I say: “Thanks, but No Thanks.” In those 11 ‘favors’ the Browns went 1-10, losing their last 5 in a row.
  • Now however, for the first time since their rebirth in 1999, the Browns will open their season away. Not saying this turn of events will change the Browns fortunes, but it sure can’t hurt.
  • It also can’t hurt that we play the Tampa Bay Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs in our first two games. Seeing as how both will be selecting before Cleveland in Thursdays draft, I don’t think anyone should guffaw at the idea of the Browns starting 2-0.
  • Random game I’m looking forward to: New York Jets. Just this offseason, they have picked up: LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor. Last year, they dealt for Braylon Edwards. Huh? Did Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum sign on as Executive Producers of Hard Knocks?
  • You also have the whole Rex vs. Rob thing to consider. This will mark the first time the Ryan brothers will compete since Bar Louie’s “Rock the Tot” tater eating competition.
  • The fact that the Jets will be this year’s team on Hard Knocks also plays a big role in my interest in the team. Last year, I watched the entire Bengals fourth preseason because I was curious to see if their 5th CB would play well enough make the team. That’s the equivalent of me caring about how Channing Tatum’s latest chick flick did in the box office. I shouldn’t care. I don’t really care. It doesn’t make any sense. The show is just that cool.
  • Little known fact: The Browns actually are tied for first with the longest active win streak at 5. And with the addition of Holmgren to the organization, you think that combo might generate just a little excitement. Emphasis on might.
  • But the Browns were scheduled for no Monday Night games, no Thursday Night games, no Sunday Night games, and not even Sunday afternoon games. Every game is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
  • I’m totally cool with this though. Ever since we Braylon’d it (dropped the ball) in 2008 with all that prime time scheduling, I’m fine with staying away from the limelight for now. Let’s try to earn it with the flex scheduling.
    • Note: After week 10, which includes the Jacksonville game and every game after, the games will be subject to flex scheduling. So if the Browns and Bills walk into week 13 at 12-0 a piece, they’ll probably move it from its 1:00 p.m. spot. (Now feel free to guffaw.)
  • This is also the first year that the final game must be a division game. The goal is to keep things competitive and prevent teams from tanking it. With the Ravens and Steelers as the final two games of the year, I can’t help but imagine it will help. No matter what the record, I’m sure I will care more about a finale vs. the Steelers than say, our ’09 opponent in the Jags.
  • I’ll hold off from any prediction of the Browns overall Record until after the draft. Plus I don’t want to sour any excitement I may have had at the thought of starting off 2-0.

– Sam